Wednesday 19 August
10:00 – 12:00
Premier League (PL)
Richard Masters, Chief Executive (RM)
Bill Bush, Executive Director (BB)
Kat Allen, Head of Policy & Supporter Relations (KA)
Tommy Guthrie, Supporter Liaison Manager (TG)
Rachel Solich Supporter Partnership Manager (RS)
Ash Lord, Communications Executive (AL)
Football Supporters Association (FSA)
Kevin Miles, Chief Executive (KM)
Michael Brunksill, Head of Communications (MB)
Jane Hughes, Club Liaison & Membership Support (JH)
Harpreet Robertson (HR)
Dominic Rosso, Chelsea Supporters Trust (DR)
Tom Greatrex, Fulham Supporters Trust (TG)
Steve Moulds, Foxes Trust, Leicester City (SM)
Joe Blott, Spirit of Shankly, Liverpool (JB)
Thomas Concannon, Newcastle United Supporters Trust (TC) (NUST)
Kat Law, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust (KL)
Newcastle United (NUFC) proposed takeover
KM outlined the depth of feeling among NUFC supporters, especially on the perceived lack of information or updates provided by the PL.
RM said he fully appreciated the concerns of fans. He reiterated the need for, and expectation of, confidentially on commercial transactions. In reference to a recent letter to Chi Onwurah MP (which was made available in the public domain) he stated the PL did not ordinarily comment on takeover bids, including those that had been withdrawn or rejected. On this occasion, information had been released only after careful consideration, and in response to the unique circumstances.
RM outlined the Owners’ & Directors’ Test process, explaining that it was an objective test and not one that was open to subjective opinion. He explained the need to establish if there were links to other legal entities that would own or control the Club. When an impasse was reached in this matter, the consortium was offered a number of routes to progress the matter:
– the entity in question accepts they would have Control by completing relevant forms and processes
– an independent arbitration on the issue of Control which en
RM stated a belief that the matter had been dealt with as quickly as it could have been, and that it had not been unduly delayed by the global pandemic or any other issues. The matter had simply reached a point where it could not be progressed further, and ultimately PIF had withdrawn its proposal.
TC expressed the opinion of NUST members that NUFC had come last in a process in which the PL had looked after its own priorities.
TC highlighted a recent NUST survey in which 96.7% of members wanted the takeover to happen. He stressed that more needed to be done to keep fans informed and RM agreed that updates in the interests of supporters could potentially be looked at as a future development to these processes.
RM confirmed the PL was always open to amending the O&D Test and related processes and explained that a review of this area was already underway, occasioned by recent Select Committee hearings on the Bury FC case in the EFL.
TC sought reassurances that the PL does seek to protect the interests of NUFC. RM explained that the PL aims to protect all clubs from being owned by entities that are not suitable, and that a balanced view must be taken in the interests of all stakeholders.
On claims of outside influence, he clarified that the decision was solely a matter for the PL Board, and that it did not seek the opinion of anyone external to the process.
RM restated his understanding of fan concerns and thanked KM and TC for stating the views of his supporters and NUST members in such a comprehensive way.
RM explained he had gone as far as he felt he could to explain the relevant processes. It was more challenging to talk now about what could happen in the future, but there may come a time when it was appropriate to do so.